Written by Staff Writer
01 Jul, 2018 | 3:55 pm
Reuters – Those who watched France striker Kylian Mbappe starting his football journey believe that there is something special in him since he was just a little child.
France have jokingly been referred to as the sixth African team playing in the 2018 FIFA World Cup. Nine players in the squad were either born in Africa or have parents who can trace their roots back to the continent. One such player is Kylian Mbappe, who has a Cameroonian father and an Algerian mother.
The Paris suburb of Bondy is known for its high unemployment rate and diversity – a third of the population there were born outside France. They include the parents of France striker Kylian Mbappe – his father is from Cameroon and his mother from Algeria. Their son stood out on the pitch from an early age.
“I worked with his father for 25 years, and they lived right behind the stadium. So he was already on the pitch with a ball when he was only four years old. He got his first football license at the age of six or seven. We, me and all the coaching staff, found immediately that he has something special,” said Jean-Francois Suner, director of A.S. Bondy, the first club Mbappe joined when he was six years old.
The coaching team there couldn’t be prouder of the youngest player to ever score for France in a World Cup.
“I knew he would be a professional, I never doubted he had the quality to play for France, and then what’s impressive is the speed. It’s all happened for him,” said Antonio Riccardi, coach of the under-13 and under-15 teams at A.S. Bondy.
Mbappe turned professional at Monaco when he was 16 and is still only 19. He wasn’t even born when France last won the World Cup. Paris’ rundown suburbs are an increasingly popular hunting ground for the big clubs. In Bondy, talent scouts from French Ligue 1 and even English Premier League teams are here most weekends of the season.
“I think it’s the people we have here – (the diversity helps), but all the kids here, even at primary school, always have a ball at their feet,” said Suner. The young players in Bondy will be cheering for the boy from Bondy as Les Bleus head to the second round, dreaming they could be the next Kylian Mbappe.
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